Pardon the Wilmington Ten

The Wilmington Ten
Photo Credit: News and Observer of Raleigh

Sign the Petition

Read the following petition to North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue, and add your name on the form to your right.

Dear Governor Perdue,

The Wilmington Ten, a group of young activists in Wilmington, North Carolina, were falsely tried and convicted in 1972 for the arson of a white-owned store and the conspiracy to assault emergency personnel. Wrongfully framed by the courts, we ask that North Carolina clear the names of these ten innocent people - four of whom are now deceased - who deserve their justice forty years later.

Rev. Benjamin Chavis, eight African-American male high school students, and an older white woman activist, were the ten people convicted that served time for a crime they never committed. Sentenced to a collective 282 years of jail time, each of the Wilmington Ten spent 4-6 years incarcerated during some of the most critical years of their lives.

In 1980, the US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the convictions based upon that Court's independent determinations that the Prosecutor and the Trial Judge allowed the introduction of perjured testimony and withheld critical evidence that defense attorneys were entitled to receive. Although this unfortunate series of events was detrimental to each of their lives-post prison, each activist lived their lives with purpose, and Dr. Ben Chavis would later become President of the NAACP.

Despite this fact, and their innocence, the state of North Carolina has not cleared the names of the Wilmington Ten, nor were the charges overturned. Forty years later we stand together in the name of justice for the Wilmington Ten and their families. Let us put such issues to rest and move forward from the days of racial tensions and injustices.

Pardon the Wilmington Ten and declare them their warranted innocence. They deserve nothing less than to get an opportunity to put this experience behind them, and have their names cleared for history, once and for all.